Christians love to speak in generalities. As long as we don’t get too specific, we can all just get along. As long as we don’t get too specific, we can live just like everyone else. Did you ever notice how Jesus only dealt in specifics? It was as if He didn’t even recognize gray as a color! Jesus never left any wiggle room; it was always black or white. As followers of Jesus, our own lives should be identified by the specific things we do, not by some general sense of what we believe. A general knowledge of anything yields little; specific action is how results are delivered.
Honoring God with your money is a generality. Intentionally giving away a set amount, a defined percentage, or even all of it is a specific action. This is the kind of obedience to which we are called. The “rich young ruler”, found in Mark 10:17-22, honored God in a general sense. When Jesus demanded specificity from him, the results were different. The young ruler couldn’t deliver. He liked His God at a comfortable distance, not intimately involved in his affairs. How would you or I respond to this command of Jesus? Would we trust enough to follow the specific instruction or would we fall back into our empty generic religion?
Saying you’re a follower of Christ is easy. Anyone can do that in a general sense; but what if you had to prove it? What is it about your life, specifically, that looks different from those around you? Jesus said that those who followed Him would have no place to call home (Matthew 8:20). He said they would face all kinds of trials and persecutions because of their identity in Him (Matthew 10:16-23). Followers of Jesus turned their back on earthly traditions and social expectations (Luke 9:59-62). They did these things because they loved Him more than anything else. Their specific actions proved their commitment to God.
It goes without saying that Christians are concerned about the poor and those in need. It doesn’t get more general than that. Until we engage in specific actions in order to alleviate the suffering of others, our words are useless. We are, as Jesus called the religious leaders of His own day, like “white- washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27). We look beautiful on the outside, but inside is nothing more than stinking, rotting, death. Our specific service leads to life, while our general lack of compassion is nothing more than a ticket to an eternity in Hell (Matthew 25:31-46).
This will be a hard post to read, and an even harder challenge to undertake. It will be far easier to walk away unchanged, content to continue living as a Christian in the general sense. Don’t make that mistake. Your entire relationship with God is at stake. Lukewarm, uncommitted, nondescript followers of Christ will be spit out of His presence (Revelation 3:15-16). We were not called to a life of generally serving Christ. We were commissioned to specific service and loving in specific ways. This is the narrow road. This is the only path. He specifically died for each and every one of us. In response, we must each live a life of intentional and specific obedience.